Welcome to my first collaborative fic! This is a joint effort between me and Missa, so drop us a review and tell us how you like it!

There is a small prequel to this fic called Vanilla. It is available at my site (see bio)


The Conviction of Solitude


Omi thundered down the stairs and flopped back onto the couch after showing Manx out. "She said it was up to us to plan," he said, making a grab for his soda can on the coffee table. "They'd like the mission completed by next week."

Ken glowered next to him. "This sucks," he complained. "This guy doesn't go anywhere, do anything. What're we supposed to do?"

"He'll be hard to catch," Youji agreed. He was sitting in the armchair, long legs propped up on the table, playing with his lighter. "All he does is pick up prostitutes."

Ran flipped through their file on the target from his customary place against the wall. "He likes young males with western features," he read aloud.

"What?" Ken sat up.

Dropping the folder on the table, Ran pointed. Ken and Omi leaned forward, their heads together as they skimmed the page.

Ken finished first. "Well, that leaves me out, then," he announced, looking pleased. He looked Ran up and down, shook his head, and grinned at Youji. "And of course Omi can't do it." Shrugging, he looked back at Ran.

"No," Ran said flatly. He crossed his arms. Ken and Omi didn't know he was gay, but if they thought he was going to prance around half naked in order to entice some low life scum into a hotel room they had another think coming. The idea of anyone like that touching him made his fingers twitch and long for his katana.

"Oh, so I'm the default whore?" Youji abandoned playing with his lighter and lit a cigarette, ostensibly ignoring Omi's disapproving glare. "Lovely."

Ran kept his mouth shut. What could he say? Anything he could think of would come out sounding like this was something that Youji should be good at.

"Youji-kun, you're the only one." Omi slid the file toward Youji. "Please don't take it the wrong way."

Youji growled around his cigarette, but he took the file. "I'm blaming this on you," he told Ken.

"What?" Ken spread his hands innocently. "You're the one that's had the most experience with this sort of thing."

"Hey!" Youji cast around for something to throw, but Ran stopped him.

"Shut up, both of you," he said. "We need to plan."

Shooting him a wry look, Omi spread out the blueprints of a nightclub. "This is the club he frequents most often," he said. "He usually goes on Friday nights before his meetings. Our information says he never carries a briefcase to these meetings, so the documents Kritiker wants are probably hidden on his person somewhere. I don't think he would trust his bodyguard with them."

"Shit, he has a bodyguard?" Youji ground out his cigarette on the bottom of his shoe. "What the hell am I supposed to do?"

"There are private rooms back here," Ran tapped the map. "The bodyguard should stay outside."

Youji leaned back in his chair, crossing his arms. "Lemme see if I got this straight," he drawled. "I hang out at the bar, dressed like a fucking whore, pick this guy up, take him to a back room, and then kill him without his bodyguard noticing anything's wrong?"

Ken burst out laughing. "Well, you could always fuck him first, to make it more believable."

"Ken-kun!" Omi exclaimed.

"Screw you, Hidaka," Youji said. "At least I'm familiar with the act."

Ran slammed his hand down on the table. "Enough," he growled.

"Okay." Omi, the ever present peacekeeper, made a mark on the map next to the bar. "This is where you'll be, Youji-kun. I'm too young to get inside, so I'll be running communications in the car somewhere out front." He made two more marks. "Someone needs to be inside the club, keeping an eye out for the target, and anything else that looks suspicious."

"Please, let me," Ken interrupted. "I want a front row seat for this."

Youji threw his cigarette butt at Ken. "You are so gonna pay someday, Ken."

"Oh, ew, that's disgusting Youji!" Ken jumped up, shaking out his shirt.

Omi sighed. "That leaves you, Aya-kun, at the back entrance."

Ran nodded. "That's fine." He hadn't been to a nightclub in years, and he had never felt comfortable in one. He was perfectly happy skulking around the back alley, sticking to the shadows. He looked over at Youji, still grinning from his small triumph over Ken. "Once Youji makes contact with the target, I want radio silence until he gives the all clear."

"What about the bodyguard?" Omi asked.

Ran thought for a moment. "These private rooms are close enough to the back door. I'll take care of him."

"Great." Youji stood. "I'll leave you three ladies to work out the nitty gritty. I'm going out."

"What, gonna practice for your big night?" Ken smirked.

"If I need the practice, I'll look you up KenKen," Youji said. He leaned over the back of the couch, ruffling Ken's hair. "What's the going rate now? I'm sure you would know."

Ran suppressed a snort of laughter and looked away. Youji had a big ego and a mouth to match, but Ran was sure that the man hadn't had a one night stand in quite some time. He drank to forget now, and he always came home alone.